The Basics on Tiered Cloud Storage and How it Can Save You Money

Tiered storage offers two advantages: using the most expensive storage only for applications that need it, and saving money by choosing lower-cost options for the rest. Tiering cuts capital expenses by extending the life of expensive hardware. It can also reduce operating expenses by lowering the costs of managing and maintaining high-performance drives.

Definition: Tiering

“Tiered storage” is a system that creates multiple layers of storage. The top tier holds mission-critical data used on a daily basis in more convenient (but also pricier) storage media.

How it works

The lower tiers house less critical data in less expensive storage media, such as backup tape systems.

Many businesses typically switch to tiered storage as a cost-cutting move—especially in the rapidly evolving climate of Big Data. Organizations are finding their data libraries growing so quickly that keeping them on local disks simply isn’t affordable. They need an archiving system that separates the essential from the rest and stores each type of data appropriately.

Breaking it Down

Tier 1: Data that’s essential to your firm’s daily operations and/or highly confidential.

Tier 2: Data you need to access from time to time.

Tier 3: Information you rarely, if ever, access. It’s likely stored until your data lifecycle plan calls for its secure destruction.

* Backup tape systems that offer a high level of security and cost-effectiveness are an excellent tier 3 media option.

Planning for Tiers

Give yourself enough time to create your tiered storage system. In most cases, it can take months to conceive, build, test and refine. And, of course, you should monitor it constantly to identify areas that need improvement.

Steps to implement your system:

  1. Choose the number of tiers. Each type of tier is a potential money-saver for your organization, since you have the opportunity to use the least expensive type of storage.
  2. Determine each tier’s storage needs
  3. Talk with your colleagues. Talk to department heads about how the new system could change some data locations—and get each person to sign off.
  4. Plan their implementation.

Put Your Plan to the Test

Once you finally have a tiered storage solution in place, you’ve reached a milestone—but you’re hardly done. Be sure to test your system and continue monitoring it throughout its lifespan.